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Healthier Together: meditation for stress relief

Posted at 6:30 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 08:30:42-05

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added many challenges to our everyday lives, and at times it can seem overwhelming.

With so much stress, it can be difficult to find relief. But an increasing number of people are turning to meditation to get their stress under control.

Allie Henderson, wellness consultant for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, “Meditation is a great way to just be more comfortable and to just be in control while also feeling calm and at peace while we’re living in a world that is very out of control."

Henderson says the principles of meditation, while basic, can have broad, far reaching and life changing effects.

“The benefits are more focused on being in control of our thoughts and emotions. We also see improved psychological benefits , improved self-esteem, there can be help when coping with illnesses and even decrease in pain.”

The meditation trend is growing. In the last decade, the number of those practicing some form of meditation has tripled. Henderson says the current world health crisis is fueling the rapid uptick.

“This is something that people are turning to because of the pandemic…which they should, because during this year we’re feeling a lot of difficult emotions."

There are many ways to meditate, and technology is making it easier than ever. Downloads of apps like Calm, Headspace, and Meditopia along with others have seen a 25 percent increase from one year ago. Not surprising says Henderson.

"Things like fear, anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, depression, loneliness. All of these things that sometimes we label as bad. We feel like we shouldn’t be feeling this way and we try to shove them aside."

Experts caution shoving deep, personal discomforts aside, as it can often lead to bigger problems.

"We want to remove judgment, remove those labels and understand what these emotions are trying to tell us, so that we can respond rather than react.”

Henderson says anyone can make significant gains through meditation, and stresses it's a gradual learning curve with overall benefits that can last a lifetime.

"Remember, your mind is going to wander, but this is a practice and even those who’ve been doing it for years, are still learning. So, give yourself grace and just enjoy the process.”

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